Baeckea imbricata, commonly known as Heath Myrtle, is a small shrub that plays a significant role in coastal heath ecosystems and the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) community. With its dense growth and abundant flowers, this plant provides essential habitat and food for various small birds, mammals, and reptiles. Baeckea is particularly adapted to damp and waterlogged environments, making it commonly found in drainage lines and swampy areas. Its unique characteristics and ecological value make it a notable component of natural landscapes.
Baeckea imbricata is native to the coastal regions of New South Wales, extending from northern NSW to the south coast. It occurs naturally in ESBS remnants, such as those found in Queens Park and along Yorks Rd in Centennial Parklands. In addition to its presence in natural habitats, Baeckea has been reintroduced through new plantings in areas like the small bird habitat near the Greenhouse Café. This selective planting aims to address habitat loss and promote the return of various bird species to Centennial Park.
Baeckea imbricata is a small shrub that typically grows in dense, many-branched thickets. It is characterised by its unique foliage and flowers. The plant features tiny scale-like leaves that are closely positioned along the stems. During the spring and summer seasons, Baeckea produces an abundance of tiny white flowers. These flowers serve as a vital food source for a range of small native insects, including bees, beetles, flies, and wasps. The shrub's growth habit and flowers make it visually appealing and contribute to its ecological significance in supporting local wildlife.
While Baeckea imbricata does not have significant commercial uses, it is valued for its role in ecological restoration and habitat enhancement. The plant's dense growth provides shelter and food for small birds, mammals, and reptiles. In restoration efforts, Baeckea is selectively planted in areas where the ESBS community has been disrupted, such as the small bird habitat in Centennial Park. By creating dense habitats with Baeckea and other native species, conservationists and volunteers aim to encourage the recolonisation of bird species and restore the natural balance of the park's ecosystem. Additionally, Baeckea's aesthetic appeal and unique characteristics make it a notable feature in natural landscapes and gardens.
Where to see Heath Myrtle in Centennial Parklands
You can find Baeckea imbricata in the ESBS remnants in Queens Park and along Yorks Rd and in new plantings in the small bird habitat near the Greenhouse Café. There are also feature plants in some of the beds near the Centennial Parklands offices.